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Desflurane Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 1, 2022.


Commonly reported side effects of desflurane include: apnea, breath-holding, cough, and laryngospasm. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to desflurane: inhalation liquid, inhalation solution

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, desflurane may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking desflurane:

More common

  • Bluish lips or skin
  • body aches or pain
  • congestion
  • cough
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • not breathing
  • runny nose
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • voice changes

Less common


  • Dark urine
  • difficulty with moving
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • joint pain
  • light-colored stools
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • noisy breathing
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • sweating
  • swollen joints
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • decreased urine
  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • stopping of heart
  • unconsciousness
  • weakness or heaviness of the legs

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of desflurane may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  • Increased watering of the mouth
  • redness of the white part of the eyes or inside of the eyelids


  • Anxiety
  • hyperventilation
  • irritability
  • itching skin
  • restlessness
  • shaking
  • trouble sleeping

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to desflurane: inhalation liquid


Very common (10% or more): Breath holding (27% in adults; 68% in pediatrics), laryngospasm (50% in pediatrics), cough (34%), apnea (15%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pharyngitis, apnea, cough, laryngospasm

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypoxia

Frequency not reported: Respiratory arrest, respiratory failure, respiratory distress, bronchospasm, hemoptysis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (27%), salivary hypersecretion (21%), vomiting

Frequency not reported: Acute pancreatitis, abdominal pain[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nodal arrhythmia, bradycardia, tachycardia, hypertension

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, arrhythmia, vasodilation, ECG abnormal, electrocardiogram ST-T change, electrocardiogram T wave inversion

Frequency not reported: Cardiac arrest, torsade de pointes, ventricular failure, ventricular hypokinesia, malignant hypertension, hemorrhage, hypotension, shock, tachyarrhythmia, palpitations[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dizziness

Frequency not reported: Seizures, encephalopathy[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hepatic necrosis, cytolytic hepatitis, cholestasis, jaundice, hepatic function abnormal, liver disorder, alanine aminotransferase increased, aspartate aminotransferase increased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Conjunctivitis

Frequency not reported: Ocular icterus, eye burns, transient blindness, ulcerative keratitis, ocular hyperemia, reduced visual acuity, eye irritation, eye pain[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, metabolic acidosis, ammonia increased[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Myalgia

Frequency not reported: Rhabdomyolysis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Urticaria, erythema, skin burning sensation[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Coagulopathy, coagulation test abnormal[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Agitation[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Increased creatinine phosphokinase

Frequency not reported: Malignant hyperthermia, asthenia, malaise, migraine, fatigue[Ref]

More about desflurane

Patient resources

Other brands


Professional resources

Related treatment guides


1. "Product Information. Suprane (desflurane)." Baxter Pharmaceutical Products, Inc (2008):

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.